Gianluca Di Marzio is reporting that Inter Milan are interested in signing both Kyle Walker and Toby Alderweireld. According to the Italian journalist, Alderweireld has told Spurs he does not want to sign a new contract and will instead look for a club to activate his rumored release clause, which is reported to be around £25m.
That sounds bad, of course: Toby is almost certainly the best center back in England and is probably one of the top 3-5 in the world. Since his arrival our defense has been transformed into one of England’s best. His arrival has also brought out the best in his former teammate at Ajax and fellow Belgian international Jan Vertonghen.
But it’s way too early to start worrying. Here’s why: When the story of Toby’s release clause broke last year, the Telegraph learned a couple important things about it. First, the clause applies only to the summer of 2019 if Spurs activate the one year extension that would keep him with the club through 2020. Moreover, any deal that is done would have to be completed 14 days before the end of the transfer window, presumably giving the club time to lock down a replacement.
This is what that means:
- If anyone wants to sign Toby before 2019, they’ll be negotiating with Daniel Levy and there will be no release fee. And, well:
- Second, the club has two years to try and change Alderweireld’s mind about leaving.
- Third, the club gets two years to evaluate Alderweireld. Typically center backs peak between 28 and 32, but sometimes they decline earlier or later. A lot can happen in two years.
- Fourth, in the worst-case scenario, Toby leaves in the summer of 2019 four years after we sign him for twice the fee we paid when we signed him from Atletico. He’ll be 30 and probably have another year or two of his prime before he begins to decline.
- Fifth, if he does leave in 2019, we’ll be in a new stadium. Revenue should be up and it will be easier for the club to sign a marquee center back to replace him.